ThePrepZone Power Poll powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville – Boys’ Basketball (FINAL RANKINGS)
Gainesville — The Bolles School in Jacksonville has had a reputation for being a state powerhouse in most sports. The Bulldogs have a state-record 11 titles in football, and have also been dominant in swimming and baseball among other sports through the years.
Boys’ basketball, however, has lagged behind in recent years for Bolles. That changed in 2015-2016.
This allowed the Bulldogs (30-3) to finish as the unanimous top boys’ basketball team in the final Prep Zone Power Poll of this season.Bolles defeated Tampa Catholic, ranked #1 in Class 4A coming into the state semifinals, and Holy Trinity (Melbourne) in the 4A state championship game last week at the Lakeland Center to win their first state boys basketball state title since 1989 and fourth in school history.
They hadn’t even won a regional playoff game since 2001 coming into these playoffs, but took care of that with an easy 58-24 win over Interlachen in the Region 1-4A quarterfinals. The regional semifinal was a much tougher game, as the Bulldogs edged #12 Jackson (Jacksonville) 38-36 at home to advance to the regional final. Bolles went on the road to East Gadsden (Havana) and won that game easily 65-40 to advance to the state semifinals in Lakeland for the first time since 1993.
The Bulldogs then pulled away from Tampa Catholic and the top player in the state, Kevin Knox in the state semifinal game. Despite a huge size advantage against Holy Trinity in the state title game, Bolles trailed at halftime and early in the fourth quarter but finally used defense and worked it inside to pull away and clinch the state championship.
The Bulldogs were led by 6’10” Collin Smith, headed to George Washington, and 6’7″ Austin Williams, who is signed with Yale. Smith led Bolles with 31 points in the state semifinal win over Tampa Catholic, while another senior, 6’8″ Jonathan DeWane, who is heading to Air Force, led the Bulldogs with 16 points in the championship game win.
The unanimous number two team is 5A state runner-up Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville).
The Crusaders (28-4) advanced to the 5A state championship game for the first time since their only boys’ basketball state title in 1957, but came up short against Poinciana (Kissimmee), 66-42, last weekend in Lakeland.
Bishop Kenny, which lost twice to Bolles during the regular season, may have had the toughest road to Lakeland, knocking off #3 Wolfson (Jacksonville), 69-55, in the Region 1-5A semifinal and rallying past defending 4A state champion Godby (Tallahassee) for a thrilling 54-51 win in the region final to advance to Lakeland for the second time in four years.
Super senior and Florida Gulf Coast signee Christian Carlyle scored 28 points as Bishop Kenny slipped past Jesuit (Tampa), 55-54, to advance to the state title game, but just couldn’t get anything going against Poinciana. Jesuit had knocked Bishop Kenny out in the 5A state semifinals in 2013.
Finishing third is Wolfson (Jacksonville).
The Wolfpack finished the regular season and district tournament with only one loss, and were atop the power poll after the regional quarterfinal round, but dropped two spots in the final poll after losing at Bishop Kenny in the Region 1-5A semifinals.
Gainesville (25-5) finishes fourth after advancing to the Region 1-6A finals, losing a close one at Pensacola.
The Hurricanes, 6A state runner-up in 2015, advanced to the regional final after an exciting overtime win over #13 Vanguard (Ocala) in the regional semifinals. Senior Rudy Bibb-Boyd scored all of his 27 points in the second half and overtime to lead the Hurricanes to the win.
Rounding out the top five is Providence (Jacksonville). The Stallions (21-9), who won 3A state titles in 2013 and 2015, had their streak of four straight state semifinal appearances end with a Region 1-3A final loss at The First Academy (Orlando).
Atlantic (Port Orange) was bounced in the Region 3-6A semifinals by eventual state semifinalist Deltona, and the Sharks (27-3) finished in a tie for 6th with Creekside (St. Johns).
The Knights (24-6) advanced to their first regional final and led most of the game before losing 57-54 at Lincoln (Tallahassee).
Deltona makes the biggest jump in the final poll, moving from 15th to 8th after their first state semifinal appearance in school history. The Wolves (22-9) won at Auburndale, Atlantic, and Hillsborough (Tampa) to advance to Lakeland, where they were beaten 56-44 by eventual 6A state champion Dillard (Fort Lauderdale).
Rounding out the top 10 is Leesburg (23-5), which finished 9th after being eliminated in the Region 4-5A semifinals by eventual state champion Poinciana (Kissimmee), and No. 10 P.K. Yonge (Gainesville). The Blue Wave (23-5) won their second consecutive district title and advanced to the Region 1-3A semifinals before being eliminated by eventual 3A state semifinalist The First Academy.
Class 1A state semifinalist Hamilton County (Jasper) leads off the second 10.
The Trojans (21-6) advanced to their second state semifinal in three years, taking eventual 1A state champion Chipley to the wire before losing 56-53.
Bell is the only team to enter the final poll at #19. The Bulldogs (24-6) advanced to their first state semifinal in school history before being knocked out by Paxton 63-50. Bell had not won a regional postseason game until this season.
Mount Dora Christian Academy and Ribault (Jacksonville), who were tied for 20th in the previous poll, both lost first round regional playoff games and dropped out of the final poll.
The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, basketball, baseball & softball teams (regardless of FHSAA classification) across 26 counties in North Florida (Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, Sumter, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor, Union & Volusia counties). It is voted on weekly by sportswriters and sportscasters.
PREP ZONE POWER POLL – 2015-16 BOYS BASKETBALL POLL #9 (FINAL RANKINGS)
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, final record, and total voting points)
1. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (7) (30-3) – 140
2. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (5A) (28-4) – 133
3. Wolfson (Jacksonville) (5A) (27-2) – 122
4. Gainesville (6A) (25-5) – 119
5. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (21-9) – 111
T6. Atlantic (Port Orange) (6A) (27-3) – 96
T6. Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (24-6) – 96
8. Deltona (6A) (22-9) – 84
9. Leesburg (5A) (23-5) – 82
10. P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) (3A) (23-5) – 80
11. Hamilton County (Jasper) (1A) (21-6) – 77
12. Jackson (Jacksonville) (4A) (17-8) – 66
13. Vanguard (Ocala) (6A) (21-8) – 56
14. Hawthorne (1A) (22-6) – 55
15. Nature Coast (Brooksville) (5A) (22-7) – 33
T16. Ponte Vedra (5A) (19-11) – 28
T16. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (8A) (21-5) – 28
18. Lake Minneola (7A) (21-8) – 26
19. Bell (1A) (24-6) – 20
20. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (3A) (16-11) – 10
Others receiving votes: Ribault (Jacksonville) (5A) (16-11) – 3, Dunnellon (4A) (19-9) – 1, Mount Dora Christian Academy (2A) (26-2) – 1, St. Augustine (6A) (19-8) – 1.